Mothers Have Right Of Custody Over Child Upon Separation, Court Says

Mothers Have Right Of Custody Over Child Upon Separation, Court Says

By Eseme MacDonald | Associate Editor on December 11, 2015
Apprentice, Lagos, Court

NAN – A Kado Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, holds that in Islamic Law the appropriate person to take custody of the offspring is the mother if separation occurs between parents through divorce or death.

The court gave the decision on Thursday,, December 10, 2015 while delivering judgment in a suit between one Hajiya Fausat Lukman and her late husband’s family over custody of her four children.

The plaintiff, Alhaji Haruna Rasheed and two others representing the defendants (Fausat’s late husband) had sought the custody of the four children, their education, upbringing and general welfare.

But the Judge,Malam Abubakar Sadiq, held that there was no cogent reason by the plaintiff in Islamic law to warrant shift of custody of children to the family.

Sadiq stressed that no statement of fact could do away with the provision of the Islamic law as its ruling on custody was very clear.

He said “if separation occurs between the parents of the child through divorce or death, the appropriate person to take custody is the mother.

“The mother has the right of custody over her child more than anybody else if she has not remarried.’’

The judge added that the reason for the provision in the Islamic law was that love in most cases was on the mother’s side.

He, however, advised any party that was not satisfied with the court’s judgment to appeal to the Sharia Court of Appeal, Gudu, within three months.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that Efe Daniel, the lawyer to the plaintiff, had alleged that the woman had no respect and regard for her husband’s family.

He said the woman left for London where they were based, immediately after her husband’s burial.

He added that the defendant did not stay for the eighth-day and 40th day prayers for her late husband before leaving the house for London.

Daniel said the family provided 6,000 Pounds (about N1.8m) for her to travel back to Nigeria with the children to attend the 40th day prayer, but she failed to attend.

He noted that the plaintiff also sponsored three people to the UK, but the plaintiff refused to recognise them.

He then urged the court to grant the plaintiff the custody of the children because the defendant had been disrespectful to the court by not attending any of the court sittings.

The defendant’s lawyer, Ibrahim Abere, however, urged the court to discountenance the allegations by the plaintiff and decide the case according to Islamic law.

He argued that the plaintiff was entitled to the custody of her children as long as she had not remarried.

Abere also said that the defendant’s failure to attend the court sittings was not out of disrespect but because she was a university student in the UK and was there attending lectures.


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